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Missing brother of Sen Mark Udall found dead in Wyoming

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) - Public domain photo
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) - Public domain photo

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Senator Mark Udall's younger brother, who had been missing for more than a week, was found dead on Wednesday in a Wyoming mountain range, but no foul play was suspected, authorities said.

The body of James "Randy" Udall, 61, who had been the subject of a search since failing to return from a week-long back-country hike, was discovered in a remote mountain area, Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford said.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Randy. Randy's body was discovered today by the heroic search and rescue team that worked for days to locate him in a remote area of the Wind River Range of Wyoming," the Udall family said in a written statement.

"Randy left this earth doing what he loved most: hiking in his most favorite mountain range in the world," the family said. "He appeared to be on the obscure, off-trail route that he had proposed to his family."

Lankford said an aerial search team spotted the body of a male lying on its side at about 2:30 p.m. in open, rolling terrain. On landing, the team identified the body as that of Udall.

An autopsy will be performed in Loveland, Colorado, Lankford said, adding foul play was not suspected.

Udall, an experienced outdoorsman who lived in Carbondale, Colorado, was reported overdue last Friday, two days after his planned exit from the back country, according to authorities.

The Udall brothers are the sons of Morris "Mo" Udall, the former U.S. congressman who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976. He died in 1998. Mark Udall is the Democratic senator from Colorado.

The Wind River Range encompasses 2.25 million acres and stretches for more than 100 miles, according to the Pinedale, Wyoming Travel & Tourism Commission.

(This story is corrected to 910,000 hectares from 910,000 acres in paragraph 9)

(Writing and additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Steve Gorman and Peter Cooney)